New Delhi: The manuscript of Ruskin Bond's first novella, written in 1956, got lost and remained untraced for 30 long years before it got published and went on to become a bestseller.
The legend finds mention in a new book "Unhurried Tales: My Favourite Novellas", published by Aleph that brings together some of the finest works of Bond's over five-decade illustrious writing career.
"I wrote 'Time Stops at Shamli' in 1956, shortly after The Room on the Roof' was published, and I couldn't find anyone to publish it. Twenty thousand words long just wasn't the right length. My typescript was finally lost in the post, but a carbon copy (there were no Xerox machines in those days) had found its way into P. Lal's Writers Workshop in Calcutta, and he put it away and forgot about it too," says Bond.
"About thirty years later, when he was cleaning out his office, he came across my transcript and very kindly sent it back to me."
"This must be a record of sorts for a manuscript to be ?under considerations'," quips Bond.
It was only in 1987 when a publication asked Bond to send over some of his works he sent them hundreds of stories, short and long, including the unpublished "Shamli" - which got published as "Time Stops at Shamli" and remains one of his most successful books till date.
"So much for my first novella," says Bond.
"Unhurried Tales: My Favourite Novellas" includes stories like "Time Stops at Shamli" (written in 1956 and published for the first time in 1987), "The Blue Umbrella", which has been a bestseller for last 40 years, "Angry River", which was a longer work when it was first written, "Bus Stop, Pipalnagar", "Night of the Leopard", "The Last Tiger" and "Tales of Fosterganj", his latest novella, which was published in 2013.